Sunday, October 15, 2017

Bridge, Castlewood State Park, Ballwin, MO

Everything looks better in watercolor even a dull concrete bridge. In fact, most things look better in sketches and paintings, don't you agree?

Bridge, Kiefer Creek, Castlewood State Park, 10/15/2017, 7"h x 10"w, water color on Canson 140lb cold press, Michael Anderon

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dogwood Harbor

 Following the in-water sailboat show at Annapolis, MD, my wife and I spent a couple of days on the eastern shore where we stayed in Saint Michales, MD. On the second day of our stay we drove up and around to Tilghman Island.

This is a sketch done on the dock at Tilghman Island's Dogwood Harbor. The harbor has been a long time home for one of, the once many, Chesapeake Bay, fishing fleets. Skipjacks and other fishing boats worked out of the harbor to dredge for oysters. Today fishing boats are far fewer but they still sail from the harbor.

This is a view across the harbor toward houses that line part of the harbor's shore.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Creston Iowa

These sketches were done when I was in Iowa with my wife. She grew up in Indianola, Iowa and we were there for her 50th high school class reunion.

The sketches were done near Creston, Iowa on a farm that belonged to my wife's uncle, that now belongs to her cousin. In her uncle's day cattle and hogs were raised on the property. Today the land around the house, barn, and garage is planted with corn and farmed by a farmer who rents the land from my wife's cousin. The buildings are getting tired and as such were interesting to draw. Both pieces were done with a pen and graded grey scale markers.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

State Fair 2017!

A great, and this time rainy, sketch day at the MN State Fair.  This is my 5th year in a row!

With the rain and humidity my paintings took longer to dry so that changed up my strategy a bit.

These images are in the rough order of execcution with the exception of the pig. I put my favorite first!

This is mostly from my new paint kit based on Liz Steele's 2017 water color set up.

The book is 8 1/2" x 11" water color paper. Most of these take me between 25 -45 minutes.

Dreaming Pig

This was my 3rd or 4th drawing in. This was fun because two of the kids who show the pigs had questions while I did the piece. This is my favorite of the bunch and was featured on an MPR post with other beautiful work from sketchers from the same day. How cool is that?

I always start with a Twisted Sister Sausage for my warm up sketch. It was really raining here. Not my favorite sketch (past years were better) but I really learned how the paper and paints were acting will all of rain and humidity. is probably the most valuable sketch of the day.  Certainly the tastiest.

The rain dictated indoor sketches, so this year is animal heavy.  This first sketch was fun because the kid who owned the turkey talked to me a little.  The bird was fun to draw but he wasn't really crazy about me standing there.

This Rooster most certainly was not crazy about me painting him.  I think that is why is looking a little like an aggressive eagle.  Such a beautiful bird. I was trying to stay loose and capture some of the beautiful colors in the black feathers.  It is always interesting to paint in a high traffic area.  You can see people wanting to ask but not ask.  I always talk to anyone who engages me. I imagine if I wasn't 6'-5", 270# and bald I might get more takers. Despite that I generally wind up having several dozen conversations about the paintings during the day. 

I needed to walk around and let these dry. I finally found an open table mostly out of  the rain and did a quick sketch of this musician as the other two dried and received a few touch ups.

Where the rooster did not want to be painted, these two sheep didn't mind being painted at all.  If you look close you can see rain drops in the pre mixed grey while I walked around waiting for them to dry.

The pig was next. I have drawn a pig every year. I guess it is a thing now.

These last two sketches were my wrap up.  It was half an hour before we met as a group and I finally found a covered place to sit.  I typically wrap up with people sketches. This was done sitting with a nice couple who had family showing animals.  I was explaining my kit and sketching nearby people. My favorite was the guy holding the wooden staff in a clear rain coat holding court with a huge corn dog in his hand. So I labeled him "The Corn Dog Messiah"

Thanks to Marty Harris and Roz Stendahl and the Metro Sketchers for organizing!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed these!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Quick Boat

This is a quick fun little sketch that I did of the boat that sits behind us in our marina. The piece was fun to do because it was loose and fast with quick splashes of paint...something I'd like to do more of.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Drying Out

Drying out is a sketch of a Chicago Mac racing sailboat that limped into Frankfort, Michigan and the marina we were staying at. The boat had suffered a line wrapped 'round its rudder and a furling line ripped from the mast. The damage was the result of very bad weather on Lake Michigan during the night of July 15.

The boat was parked in a slip next to us to do repairs and dry out the crew's foul weather gear. It was one of over 300 boats competing in the annual race up Lake Michigan to Mackinac Island, a distance of 333 miles. The boat was 1 of 5 that limped into Frankfort due to blown out sails, equipment damage, injuries, and illness. The boat also numbered as one of more than 100 boats that dropped from this year's race due to punishing Lake Michigan weather.

As one who periodically takes part in cross Lake Michigan races, my heart goes out to all the crews who took part in this year's Mac race. It was a tough one.

Arcadia House

This is an old house that's a half block up from the marina in Arcadia, Michigan. I did the sketch while we were staying in Arcadia on our boat. I've sketched the house several times over the years. It's falling apart, abandoned, only the lawn is mowed or it would be over grown. I talked to a couple of people about the house, one while I was working on the sketch, both said at one time they thought they'd buy the house and fix it up. Unfortunately the dreams went and the house will soon be beyond repair.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Power plant chimney, again

[By Marcia Milner-Brage in Cedar Falls, Iowa]

The Cedar Falls Utilities coal-burning facility is in the old-town neighborhood where I live. It's hard to miss the landmark chimney, towering above everything else.  Railroad tracks lead to the coal yards next to the chimney. Washington Park is on the other side of the tracks. One has to cross the tracks to access this riverside park. I drew the above recently from the park's entrance. Train cars are often stored here.

The above drawing is part of a recent paint marker series I did of Washington Park. See more of that series on the international Urban Sketchers Blog HERE.

October 2012, I included the chimney in another drawing. It became a backdrop to Wertjes Uniforms, a shop for police officers and firefighters, which is just down the street from my house.

Monday, June 5, 2017

J. Nagem

This is J. Nagem, an all steel, home built, trawler/tug that's currently residing in a corner of the yard at our marina. The boat is about ready to launch for the season so Sunday afternoon I pulled out my sketch book, sat under a tree and sketched away.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017


This abandoned, overgrown, farm house sits on the same property as the barn sketch I posted under the title "Last Legs." The house is up and around the drive that passes the barn. The place hasn't been lived in for years and is now mostly obscured by the brush, trees, and tall grass that have grown up around the old house. Like the barn it will soon be gone.

I'd intended to go back and sketch the house the day after I did the barn but wasn't able to for a couple of weeks. When I went back this past Friday, to do the sketch, the sun was shining brightly but as I worked on the sky darkened to the west and by the time I headed back to the boat it had started to rain.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Last Legs

I've driven past this old barn, that's just outside of Whitehall, Michigan, for years. Saturday afternoon with boat launch chores at least under control, I decided to have a go a sketching the old barn that sits, ready to fall down, on one of many of Michigan's used to be farms. I've no idea how old the barn is but I did note the large beams in the structure are hand hewn.

I was almost done with the drawing when the gentleman who lives across the street from the old farm stopped by to see what I was up to. He told me it was a good thing I was drawing the barn now as the property has been sold and the barn will soon be torn down.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Greenwood Missouri field trip

The Art Mob made a trip to Greenwood for a sketch crawl...of course I started with my Starbucks!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Spring...Rockford, Michigan

It's finally warming up here in Michigan. So this afternoon I got out my art bag and took my portable chair and the dog for a short walk to the entrance of the condo association where my wife and I live. I sketched this scene of the mini farm that's directly across the street from us. The person who owns the place has goats, a couple of horses, and chickens...we hear the rooster in the morning.

It was a great afternoon to be out and was fun to do some art work again. It's also quite beautiful here, now, in Rockford where we live. The flowering trees are blossoming and the forests that surround us are taking on tinges of greens and yellows as the leaves begin to poke out as we head into spring. One of the great things about Rockford is that you don't have to go far to be out in the country.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Fun with friends at the Nelson Atkins Art Museum...they're kind enough to reserve tables so we can all sit together when we're done sketching!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Lawrence Sketch Crawl

We got out today in the snow to meet at the KU Spencer Museum of Art. I've never been here before. Plenty of nice art. I walk around to see everything and come back to this weird display of a fictional account of a lab animal that was stolen from KU back in the 1980's. It takes a while to see all the clues to understand what's going on. I like that. The museum is paranoid about water sources so we are told to keep with pencils. I made a friendly amendment to that and chose my fountain pen. The art cop making the rounds didn't catch me. I guess I like living on the edge.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

USk Lawrence February Sketch Crawl

I recently found out about the Urban Sketchers Lawrence group. My second outing with them was this morning. We met at the local Lawrence bowling alley. It reminded me of the bowling alley in Topeka that I went to as a youth. Nice clean place. The bowling balls are more colorful than in my youth.

We had time to sketch and chat, and met at the donut shop in the same shopping center to share drawings. All in all . . . a great day.

I warmed up with some quick gesture sketching using my Pentel pocket brushpen (just love that pen). Then I went on to this sketch. Fountain pen, watercolor pencils and waterbursh. I love all the leading lines! The blue animal took me some time to figure out. It took some kids showing up and using them for the light bulb to come on.

Some of us talked about the upcoming USk Symposium in Chicago. Sure looks like a good time.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Local COOP

Here's a sketch of my rural urban environment. Our local COOP is still functioning, as when I was a kid riding my uncles grain truck at harvest time. Good memories. Now the scales are linked with a satellite antenna so they must be remote now. The building is empty of all furnishings. All in the name of reducing operating expenses. It's a different world now.

Today was windy and cold. After sketching I noticed I was chilled. When you're sketching you don't notice those things. The locals were keeping an eye on me. I parked in the entrance to a private gated campground and an employee asked me to move the car (they had plenty of room!). Then a couple trucks drove by slowly and gave me the eye. I guess I'm one of those shady sketch journalers. There goes the neighborhood!
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